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The Chevin Are Coming!

The Chevin are Coming

We just received an email from Bioware that seems to be teasing the upcoming world event: The Grand Acquisitions Race. Watch the video below to see for yourself.

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Red 5, Standing By

Red 5, Standing By

Today Fantasy Flight Games posted a brand new preview of their upcoming Star Wars: X-Wing miniature space battle game. This sneak peek offers a very general look at what an average turn in a game might look like. Each turn consists of three phases: Planning, Activation, and Combat.

During the planning phase players will select from a number of maneuvers available to their fighters. Each maneuver has a speed (the distance your ship will travel), a bearing (what direction the ship will be facing when the maneuver is over), and a difficulty (more difficult maneuvers can cause stress to the ship preventing the pilot from taking an action during the Activation phase). Each ship has a dial which displays the maneuvers for each each ship and the varying speeds and difficulties; each ship has its own unique set of maneuvers. Each player sets their maneuvers in secret.

Maneuvers are then revealed during the Activation phase. Movement distance and angle is calculated using “maneuver tracks.” These are game pieces that you’ll place at the front of your ship’s original location and where the track ends is your ship’s new location. After each ship moves, its pilot can take an action. Actions can be anything from selecting an upgrade to focusing on the combat about to take place.

Maneuver Dial and Maneuver Track

During the combat phase the ships all get to fire at each other. Starting with whichever pilot has the highest skill, they can each target any ship within range. The attacker rolls a number of special attack dice (determined by the ship’s attack value and modified by range) which will come with the core set while the defender will roll a similar number of defensive dice (determined by the ship’s agility value). Damage is determined by the number of damage symbols that turn up on attack dice minus the number of evasion symbols on the defensive dice that were rolled. If ships have shields, those are depleted first and the hull damage is kept track of by damage cards. each ship has a number of cards equal to its hull strength. However, should a critical hit symbol appear on the attack die and the defender is unable to evade it, when the ship receives a damage card, it will be flipped over with an extra effect revealed. These extra effects include things such as a pilot losing consciousness or equipment on the fighter becoming damaged, making maneuvering or combat more difficult.

Fantasy Flight promises to have more previews such as this one in the future featuring various ships and pilots from the Core set and new ships to be released in the expansion packs. Star Wars: X-Wing does not have an exact release date beyond sometime this Fall; however if you happen to be attending GenCon in August, you’ll be able to test out the game have a chance to participate in the first ever X-Wing tournament.

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Star Wars Essential Reading List

Essential Reading List

Because it was requested of us at Ossus Academy many times, we’ve put together a timeline of Star Wars novels and comics for all of you. Now, this isn’t an exhaustive list of every book or comic ever published. Instead, it’s our list of things that we feel are essential for fans to read. The following pieces of literature listed are either very important lore-wise, or we felt that they were really awesome and people should definitely read them.

Note: Dates are listed as either BBY (Before the Battle of Yavin) or ABY (After).

36,453 – 25,793 BBY Dawn of the Jedi
5,000 – 4,975 BBY Tales of the Jedi: The Golden Age of the Sith
Tales of the Jedi: Fall of the Sith Empire
Lost Tribe of the Sith: Precipice
Lost Tribe of the Sith: Skyborn
Lost Tribe of the Sith: Paragon
Lost Tribe of the Sith: Savior
4,000 – 3,986 BBY Tales of the Jedi: Knights of the Old Republic
Tales of the Jedi: The Freedon Nadd Uprising
Tales of the Jedi: Dark Lords of the Sith
Tales of the Jedi: The Sith War
Tales of the Jedi: Redemption
3,964 -3,963 BBY Knights of the Old Republic
3,962 BBY Knights of the Old Republic: War
3,960 BBY Lost Tribe of the Sith: Purgatory
Lost Tribe of the Sith: Sentinel
3,954 -3,950 BBY The Old Republic: Revan
3,953 BBY The Old Republic: Deceived
3,000 BBY Lost Tribe of the Sith: Pantheon
Lost Tribe of the Sith: Secrets
1,032 BBY Knight Errant (comics and novel)
1,003 -1,000 BBY Darth Bane: Path of Destruction
1,000 BBY Jedi vs. Sith
1,000 – 980 BBY Darth Bane: Rule of Two
Darth Bane: Dynasty of Evil
67 -19 BBY Republic
27 BBY Outbound Flight
22 BBY Republic Commando: Hard Contact
21 BBY Republic Commando: Triple Zero
Republic Commando: True Colors
19 BBY Labyrinth of Evil
Republic Commando: Order 66
Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader
Imperial Commando: 501st
Dark Times
10 BBY The Paradise Snare
5 BBY The Hutt Gambit
2 BBY Rebel Dawn
1 – 0 BBY Empire
0.5 ABY Allegiance
Choices of One
0 ABY Rebellion
0 ABY – 4 ABY Tales from the Mos Eisley Cantina
3.5 ABY Shadows of the Empire (comics and novel)
5 ABY Boba Fett: Twin Engines of Destruction
6.5 – 7.5 ABY X-Wing: Rogue Squadron
X-Wing: Wedge’s Gamble
X-Wing: The Krytos Trap
X-Wing: The Bacta War
X-Wing: Wraith Squadron
X-Wing: Iron Fist
X-Wing: Solo Command
8 ABY The Courtship of Princess Leia
9 ABY Heir to the Empire
Dark Force Rising
The Last Command
X-Wing: Isard’s Revenge
10 ABY Dark Empire
Dark Empire II
11 ABY Empire’s End
Crimson Empire
Crimson Empire II
Jedi Search
Dark Apprentice
Champions of the Force
I, Jedi
13 ABY X-Wing: Starfighters of Adumar
18 ABY Ambush at Corellia
Assault at Selonia
Showdown at Centerpoint
19 ABY Specter of the Past
Vision of the Future
22 ABY Survivor’s Quest
23 -24 ABY Young Jedi Knights Series
25-29 ABY Vector Prime (The start of the New Jedi Order series)
Dark Tide I: Onslaught
Dark Tide II: Ruin
Agents of Chaos I: Hero’s Trial
Agents of Chaos II: Jedi Eclipse
Balance Point
Edge of Victory I: Conquest
Edge of Victory II: Rebirth
Star by Star
Dark Journey
Enemy Lines I: Rebel Dream
Enemy Lines II: Rebel Stand
Destiny’s Way
Force Heretic I: Remnant
Force Heretic II: Refugee
Force Heretic III: Reunion
The Final Prophecy
The Unifying Force (End of the NJO)
35 – 36 ABY The Joiner King
The Unseen Queen
The Swarm War
40 – 41 ABY Betrayal (Start of Legacy of the Force)
Invincible (End of LotF)
41 ABY Crosscurrent
43 – 44 ABY Outcast (Start of Fate of the Jedi)
Apocalypse (End of FotJ)
130 – 138 ABY Legacy
138 ABY Legacy: War
Non-canon Star Wars: Tales
Tag and Bink comics
Infinities comics
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Digital Disappointment

The wait is over. The Old Republic is finally out and we can all enjoy playing the game that we’ve been waiting so long for. But for some of us, the wait has beem for more than just the game. For those of us who ordered the Collector’s Edition, we’ve been waiting for a long time to get our hands on our extra goodies that come as part of the package. When I was finally able to open up my box, I was extremely satisfied with all the physical items I got. The Gnost-Dural journal, in particular, was more impressive than I was expecting. The digital items, on the other hand, were quite disappointing.

First we’ll start with the item that everyone got for pre-ordering any edition of the game; the color stone. There have been many complaints about the color of this stone and many people feel that it is quite ugly. I’m not one of those guys. But what does bother me is the relatively low stats on the stone. At +7 Endurance, the stone didn’t last me past my late-20s. I would have liked to seen a graduated set of stones. You know, maybe at level 20 I can then buy a new color stone with something like +10 Endurance on it. Something to let me keep my pre-order colors through to the level cap if that was my wish.

Next are the holodancer, holocam, STAP, training droid and flare gun; the items that both the Collector’s Edition and Digital Deluxe buyers were given. The holocam is complete waste. So I click a button instead of hitting “Print Screen” to take a screenshot. Who cares? The holodancer is kinda entertaining, but quickly becomes annoying. The holodancer only last for 30 seconds, but the cooldown on the item is 60 seconds.. It’s totally ruining my dance parties. The flare gun is cool, but it shoots the flare so absurdly high that even in huge caverns the flare usually will disappear into the ceiling. Only use this gun outdoors, and even then the flare will be up so high that no one is likely to even see it going off. The training droid has absolutely no use other than wasting inventory space. In the end, the STAP is the only item really worth having. It’s a kind of neat looking vehicle and it saves you from having to spend the money to purchase one once you hit level 25.

Finally come the two things exclusive to Collector’s Edition owners, the mouse droid and access to a special vendor. The mouse droid is pretty neat. He follows you about, like any vanity pet, and that’s about it. I was pretty happy with my mouse droid for a couple days, until I took a look at the vendor that people who use security keys have access to. It turns out that he sells a mouse droid. A real mouse droid that actually looks like the mouse droids from the films. I want that instead of the ugly green Rhoomba that BioWare gave me. But the thing that I am most disappointed in is the vendor. Who cares if we have an exclusive vendor if it’s full of things that nobody wants to buy. You can choose from another vanity pet, a couple companion customizations, or a really ugly uniform. The VIP vendor that anyone can get access to sells a cool looking speeder and even the Security Key vendor has more and better items than the Collector’s Edition vendor. However, BioWare has said that they plan to occasionally update the vendor’s inventory with new items. I sure hope it happens soon, because right now I’m feeling kind of cheated.

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TOR Lore 102: The Mandalorians

The Mandalorians

Who and what were the Mandalorians? Everyone knows about Boba Fett and Jango Fett, but what about the culture that spawned these two iconic warriors? Very little information is given in the films about who they were or their motivations. Once again, Leo and Evan join forces to discuss this topic and share their knowledge with the rest of you.

Mando Culture

Evan: If there was only one thing that I wish I could rip out of George Lucas or Ralph McQuarie’s notebooks from 1980, it’s the original concept notes and sketches of the Imperial Super-Commando that eventually became Boba Fett. I think these Super Commandos were meant to be the ones storming Echo Base instead of Snowtroopers, but I could be wrong. Regardless of where he came from, the unnamed bounty hunter from Empire Strikes Back with three whole lines somehow managed to generate this whole separate sub-fanbase. Back then all we knew was that this guy who liked to disintegrate people had something called “Mandalorian Battle Armor.” Even if you don’t know everything about them you know they’ve really become the third pillar of the Star Wars universe and, consequently, a major source of contention between the fans, EU writers, and GL himself.

Leo: Yes, today we know a lot more about Mandalorians then just that they wear badass looking armor. The entire Mando culture is one based on a dichotomy, conflict with non-Mandos but unity amongst each other. Kad Ha’rangir was the Mandalorian god of war and destruction and engaging in warfare was how Mandos worshiped him. Because of all the war and conflict and because Mandalorian society is comprised of beings from many, many different species, their culture also had many different rules intended to unify these disparate species. Foremost amongst these was the Resol’nare, or the “Six Actions.” All Mandalorians are expected to live by these tenets and they are: wear beskar’gam (armor), speak Mando’a, defend yourself and your family, contribute to your clan, rally to the Mand’alor when summoned, and raise your children in the Mandalorian ways.

E: That’s a significant point to make: being Mandalorian isn’t about species at all. In fact, the armor speaks more to their society than what’s underneath. From a certain point of view, the Mandos might be a more equal society than some in the Republic.

Also worth noting is that although they are, by definition, a warrior culture, they are not ruthless monsters. As you’d already mentioned, they are a very tightly-knit society, having their own families within their larger clans. Because they recognize that not every society they face may be warriors, they may choose to not engage them. After all, there is no honor to be found in killing those too weak to even try to defend themselves.

L: Mandalorians as a whole, however, eventually become much less warlike after the Old Republic era. After a devastating war with the Republic about 700 years before the films, several Mandos break off from the general Mandalorian population and form a peaceful pacifist society known as the New Mandalorians. But they were totally lame and no one wants to hear about them. The rest of the Mandos continued on as always until they nearly exterminated the Ithullan race. This started a movement amongst the Mandalorians to reform their culture. Instead of spreading warfare across the entire galaxy, they instead became the highly skilled mercenaries and bounty hunters of the modern era. Rather than act as a marauding army, they began to follow what was known as the “Supercommando Codex.”

Boba Fett and Jodo Kast

Mandolorian Battle Armor

E: Of course, it’s the armor that really captivates even the most casual of fans. You’d mentioned that they are meant to wear beskar armor, but what we see Boba and Jango wear really just looks like any old plasteel you might take off a dead stormtrooper, just with a different paint job and some mods. Beskar’gam, however, is made from the mineral beskar which is one of those very few materials capable of standing up to a lightsaber. Looking at the game for a moment, I don’t think we’ll be too likely to even SEE any beskar armor until we’re at least level 50. Actually, the use of beskar was not limited solely to armor, but extended to weapons, as well. A Mando wearing beskar’gam and carrying the traditional beskade warblade was more than a match for any Trooper attacking with a rifle.

L: I think armor is captivating even for us non-casual fans. Personally, it’s what I find most fascinating about the Mandalorians. Each Mando’s armor is their most prized possession. Everyone’s armor (usually) is different and all the customization means something to them. Even different colors on the armor can have different meanings. Really the beskar’gam is a good metaphor for the whole Mando culture. Each set of armor is highly personal and individual, yet they are alike enough show unity among the various clans and species that make up the Mandalorians.

E: The helmet is also one of those things that grabs you immediately. Masks and helmets are a very prominent theme in the Star Wars universe. Aside from the droids and rebel troopers, the masked Stormtroopers and Darth Vader are the very first characters we met in the films! In Empire, Boba’s mask bore somewhat of a resemblence to the stormtroopers’, of course, being taken from the super commando sketches, but it held another level of mystery and menace for the viewers. The most important mask amongst Mandalorians is that belonging to The Mandalore, the supreme leader that can unite all the disparate clans. The Revan novel really drove home what that helmet means to the Mandalorian people and why Canderous claiming it was such a significant event in Knights of the Old Republic II. Fans of the Saga era don’t really get that backstory to any degree, although the second season of the Clone Wars peripherally touches on it and the Legacy of the Force books, especially those by Karen Traviss, do bring it back to the forefront.

L: And the gadgets. Don’t forget the gadgets. All the stuff hidden in this armor can put Batman’s utility belt to shame. Exactly what accessories a set of armor will have varies greatly from one individual to the next. Common accoutrements include grappling hooks, flamethrowers, crush gauntlets, jet packs, rocket launchers, and dart guns. The suit can even contain water and nutrients that can be ingested through the use of a straw inside the helmet.

For Mandalore!

As much as we’ve just finished talking about, there are volumes more that could be gone over. From the origin of the Mandalorian species and their evolution into a multi-species culture to the first time they served the Sith and all the way up to Boba Fett becoming The Mandalore, it would take more time than most people have in a day. However, having just scratched the surface, we hope you’ll be inspired to look into these fascinating characters further than a Wookieepedia entry. With that, even if you are a Republic loyalist, do yourself a favor and roll a Bounty Hunter on the side. I think every variation of “Boba” has been taken by now, though.